Omicron COVID wave skyrockets, county breaks weekly new case record

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Beaverhead County added 149 new COVID cases in the past week, breaking its previous record of 125 set in November 2020, before vaccines were available to protect against the coronavirus.

Beaverhead County had 136 active cases and 1,855 total cases recorded as of Tuesday. Cases were tallied in people aged 0-89, with the majority of cases in people in their 20s, followed by teens. The county’s vaccination rate remains unchanged at 55%.

Schools in rural parts of Beaverhead County were closed due to COVID-19 cases, Superintendent of Schools Mike Miller told the county commission Monday. Wise River, Jackson and Polaris needed to close since every student is a close contact in those small schools. The schools were operating through remote learning.

The state set new records in the past week, with its highest single-day new case spike set Monday at 5,057. New case counts repeatedly crossed the 1,000 and 2,000 mark daily in the past week. The state added 13,978 cases and 30 deaths to its COVID-19 tallies in the past week. As of Tuesday, The state listed 229,966 total cases and 2,987 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The statewide vaccination rate ticked up to 54%.

Hospitalizations are climbing at a steady pace statewide. Barrett Hospital had one person hospitalized with COVID, and was 44% full as of the most recent statewide report. A hospital in Carter County reported over 90% full. Hospitals in Cascade, Lewis and Clark and Musselshell counties were 100% full. Kalispell Regional in Flathead County was 12 people over capacity.

There have been more than 70.6 million COVID-19 cases and over 864,203 deaths counted nationwide since the start of the pandemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national vaccination rate sits at 63.4%.